Logan Cup: Bowlers dominate day one in Harare
Harare Metropolitan Eagles – 171 all out in 58.5 overs (Elton Chigumbura 53, Tino Mutombodzi 30, Taurai Muzarabani 26*; Michael Chinouya 4/25, Kyle Jarvis 4/37)
Midlands Rhinos – 87-5 in 31 overs (Peter Moor 49, Nyasha Mayavo 12*; Tafadzwa Muzarawetu 2/27, Trevor Garwe 2/34)
Stumps – Day 1: Midlands Rhinos trail by 84 runs with five wickets remaining in the first innings
It was a bowler’s day at Harare Sports Club on Sunday, as Mike Chinouya and Kyle Jarvis shattered the Harare Metropolitan Eagles batting early on, only for Trevor Garwe to swing the advantage back towards the home side after breaking through the Midlands Rhinos top order in the afternoon.
Only Elton Chigumbura for Eagles and Peter Moor for Rhinos shone with the bat, and the day ended with the balance of the match fairly even, but with Eagles perhaps the happier of the two sides.
On a hot sunny day, with the ground in excellent condition, Eagles won the toss and decided to bat.
They began their innings with Cephas Zhuwao and Chamu Chibhabha facing the bowling of Chinouya and Jarvis.
With five runs on the board, Chinouya moved the ball back in to trap Chibhabha lbw for one in the third over.
Zhuwao almost went for four, as he played a cramped shot to a ball from Jarvis and skyed it into the covers, where Simba Gupo, perhaps with the sun in his eyes, dropped it.
Jarvis did get his man in the next over, however, as Zhuwao, now on six, miscued a pull and Tendai Maruma at midwicket made no mistake with the catch; seven for two.
Kudzai Maunze, on four, edged a ball from Jarvis that just escaped being caught by the wicketkeeper and went to the boundary instead.
In his next over, however, Jarvis removed Regis Chakabva for four, nudging a catch straight to Tendai Chisoro at second slip; 22 for three.
Two runs and two balls later, Jarvis nearly removed Tino Mutombodzi as well, as he edged a very sharp chance to Prince Masvaure at first slip, which hit him in the mouth before he could catch it, knocking out a tooth and forcing him to leave the field.
Chakabva and Mutombodzi saw off the opening bowlers and looked to be digging the side out of trouble when Chisoro came on with his left-arm spin and, with his fourth ball, bowled Chakabva for 19; 59 for four.
Chigumbura came in next and looked more secure than he has done before this season, and the pair stayed in until lunch time, when the score was 84 for four, Mutombodzi on 24 and Chigumbura 20.
Jarvis soon broke through after lunch, as Mutombodzi drove over a yorker and was trapped lbw for 30, reducing Eagles to 91 for five.
Nathan Waller came in and moved forward to his first ball, which came in, hit his pad and he too was given out lbw; 91 for six.
Aided by a defensive Tapiwa Mufudza, Chigumbura grew in confidence and went on to record his first fifty in first-class cricket since October last year, off 63 balls.
However, he fell for 53, slogging a ball from Chinouya to mid-on – it looked like clearing the fielder, but Jarvis jumped up and took a remarkable one-handed catch.
Chigumbura scored 53 off 68 balls with seven fours, and Eagles were 124 for seven.
Garwe scored just runs runs before he flashed at a ball from Chinouya and edged a catch to the keeper.
Eight wickets were now down for 126, and this was Chinouya’s 200th wicket in first-class cricket.
He soon added another, as Mufudza pushed a catch to second slip after scoring one run off 35 balls — most valuable when he was holding up an end for Chigumbura — but then failed to hold a return chance offered by the last man Taurai Muzarabani.
This was to prove expensive for Rhinos, as Muzarabani, a last-man slogger, has played his part in several major last-wicket partnerships for Eagles over the years, and the miss allowed him to construct another.
He scored 26 of a stand of 44 with Tafadzwa Muzarawetu before Maruma finally broke through and bowled Muzarabani, the final total being 171.
Chinouya took four for 25 and Jarvis four for 37, and their fine bowling was mainly responsible for shattering the Eagles’ innings.
Tea was taken, but when Rhinos went in to bat Garwe struck immediately, trapping Bothwell Chapungu lbw with his third delivery with only a single to Maruma on the board.
In his next over he dismissed Tafadzwa Kaitano the same way, and Rhinos were in real trouble at one run for two wickets.
Moor proved to be the man for the crisis, and he immediately took charge, driving the ball well and scoring 29 of the first 37 runs, mostly off Garwe.
At 41 he lost Maruma for 11, edging a catch to Chigumbura at first slip off Muzarawetu.
Gupo came and went for five, caught at the wicket off Muzarabani; 57 for four, of which Moor now had 39.
Masvaure should have come in before now, but he was still not fit to bat after his accident early in the day.
Nyasha Mayavo proved a solid partner for Moor, but the latter became bogged down in the forties and, on 49, drove a simple return catch back to Muzarawetu.
He scored 49 out of a total of 74 for five, facing 64 balls and hitting nine fours.
It was the only significant innings of his team to date and left Rhinos in real trouble facing a total of only 171.
Masvaure now came out to bat, though obviously he would have preferred to wait until the following day.
He and Mayavo played with good judgment for the close, when they had four and 12 respectively, of a total of 87 for five wickets.